Monthly Archives: April 1999

JUDY

JUDY

Judy was a beauty
tall and blonde and shy
early this month she decided to die

The soft wise eyes, the curling lashes
all now ashes

We have been friends for twenty years
hugs and coffee when in town, cards when far away

And always the latest poetry

She said it was important, and it touched her
in places nothing and no one else could reach

Three years ago
I put my neck in a green eyed noose

I sent no cards, I did not call

I do not know if I could have saved her
though touch and poetry have been known to

I only know I hate what I did and didn’t do
I only know that she drowned out there alone
I only know it was a long time since I had thrown her a line

HILLMAN

HILLMAN

A shadow on the wall in Hiroshima
ashes on a lake in Austin

Donna looks over the side of the boat
and cries as they drift
because she cannot see his face in the ashes

She might also have looked
for 81 years from China Sea to here
the graceful movements of Tai Chi
the hands of massage
and the mind and heart of a poet

The ashes drift to the banks and bottom of Lake
Austin

All that remains are the shadows on our minds and
hearts

And the walls of Hiroshima

THE TWINKLE

THE TWINKLE
(Eulogy at Father’s funeral)

There is a thing about light
no matter where it starts it never stops
even if it takes a million years
to get from the twinkling stars to here

There was a twinkle in the eyes of this man
A twinkle of innocent mischief and inner joy
greeting every man and woman
every girl and boy

When you saw it you knew that he liked you
and never doubted that you’d like him too

AND HE WAS RIGHT

Because there is a thing about light

A million years from now
and no one knows how far
they will see it on some star

FATHER’S POEM

FATHER’S POEM

My father’s poems
did not come down to us on paper

He was eight years old when his mother died
his youngest brother not yet three

They say he adopted the care
of the sweet sad child
and told him a story each night

Night after night after night

New stories he made up each night

And he would gather him up in the story
and hold him there
until he slept

DAD AND ROY

DAD AND ROY

Dad and Roy were the best of friends
they drank and fought and played
and laughed like nobody laughed
for fifty years and more

Dad had a room in the nursing home
way down at the end of the hall
when Roy was admitted as well
a nurse wheeled him down that hall

They sat footrest to footrest a minute
then Roy said “So it’s come to this”
and they both had a hell of a laugh

Dad died in late December
Roy lasted three months more
They are buried twenty feet apart
in the prairie town where they played

I can see them there now
sitting on their shiny new stones
having a smoke and a chew
and a good pull on a forty of rye

Roy says “So it’s come to this”
and they both have a hell of a laugh

DODO BIRD

DODO BIRD

The Dodo bird used to live on
Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean
just a little bit east of the African coast

Being too big and dumb
to move fast, hide well, or taste bad
the Dodo did not survive human contact

Shortly after the Dodo became extinct
all the large beautiful trees on the island
seemed to be heading for extinction as well

You see the trees dropped their nuts
and the Dodo birds ate those nuts
and they digested those nuts
and fertilized those nuts

And they dropped those nuts
and only then could they germinate
and grow into those big beautiful trees

And those trees were the only homes
for hundreds of kinds of birds and bugs
and moss and a thousand living things

The world is a grain of sand you know
and sometimes the whole world can depend
on the shit of a Dodo